Let Them Eat Marshmallows… or Choco Pies


This pun very much intended: the following effort, sending marshmallows in balloon launches into the DPRK, literally takes the cupcake.

The idea of balloon launches in themselves is somewhat of a labour-intensive, low-reward effort in the first place. After all, the effectiveness of such launches depends not only on how many balloons you use, but also upon meteorological phenomena that are simply out of your hands. Furthermore, there is no way to find out whether the material you put inside the balloon itself is picked up by the intended end user – for all we know, the numerous leaflets that are supposedly showered over the DPRK could simply end up bolstering the nutrition of North Korea’s flora and fauna. (The counter to all of this is why North Korea would send someone to assassinate the numero uno behind these balloon launches… if the DPRK was behind it at all, but I digress)

But in the midst of what many on this blog are arguing is a food crisis, choosing to send something the North Koreans have absolutely no need for, marshmallows, reminds me too much of the passing remark one member of the French nobility had about peasants and letting them eat brioches. The North Koreans don’t have any food to eat? Let’s send them marshmallows!

At least some of the other balloon launch folks are beginning to send hard currency and stuff that the North Koreans can actually use in these balloons now.

But here’s a compromise: how about Choco Pies? Supposedly the industrial park up in Kaesong runs on these ubiquitous South Korean snacks, which cost next to nothing in the ROK. If you want to send something sweet up to the starving people of North Korea, here’s something that you can eat that is actually worth trading (it even has marshmallows in it!) And at $10 a pop, if you believe the scuttlebutt, it provides a hard currency cash cow which can be used to buy something far more useful to the average North Korean. Like real food, just to name something which some people obviously have not thought of.

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One Response to “Let Them Eat Marshmallows… or Choco Pies”

  1. Erich Weingartner Says:

    You have a clever micro-financing idea there, Jack. The skies over North Korea must be teeming with helium balloons these days, as we read about an inflating number of these ballooning projects. (Puns also intended!) Here’s another one you missed: This article is from the LA Times: Defector floats his rescue socks into North Korea. It seems defector Lee Ju-sung’s balloons carry packages that include warm socks! In all, hundreds of pairs were lifted heavenward by 10 helium-filled balloons: little pink baby booties and large black-and-blue ones for growing children and adults. More useful products for the local market!


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